Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office

Preservation Success Story: Mainstreet Waynesboro, Inc.

| 0 comments

Continuing our theme of Preservation Success Stories this Preservation Month, we’ll feature short interviews with our 2020 Community Initiative Award winners for the next few weeks.

Next in line is Mainstreet Waynesboro, Inc., which leads economic development and revitalization activites for Waynesboro, Franklin County’s downtown commercial district.

They hosted a successful virtual “Historic Designation Celebration” in May 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to move the in-person celebration of their recent National Register listing online. While a large crowd may have joined Mainstreet Waynesboro in Franklin County to celebrate the National Register listing and learn more about preservation in person, over 1,700 people have watched the Facebook Live event recording, spreading a positive message about Waynesboro’s historic community and historic preservation far and wide.

Waynesboro Designation Celebration, May 2020.

What inspires you to want to preserve your community/specific place?

Waynesboro has such an eclectic mix of architecture and design that is makes us want to preserve and highlight the things we have. Our motto at Mainstreet Waynesboro is to “Embrace our Assets,” which includes not only loving our neat shops, restaurants and movie theater, but embracing our history and people.

"I love the boro" banner on light post.
#Borostrong pride in Waynesboro. Picture from May 7, 2021 Facebook post.

Is there a historic place or historic preservation project planned or happening that you’re particularly excited about?

In downtown Waynesboro, several buildings have been renovated or brought up to date, while not losing the character of the building or streetscape. Two such projects are a new ice cream and soda shop in an old hardware building and our work at 21 E. Main St. and 25 E. Main St. where we have created a classy looking brick park and are working on a new restaurant and commerce center.

We also recently reached out to the State Historic Preservation Office for help with getting our historical markers repaired. Within 60 days of the initial email, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission had it finished and re-installed. I was very proud of that, and loved the cooperation among state agencies and our little borough and nonprofit!

Rick Errigo (left) and Craig Wise (right), PHMC’s contractor for historical marker maintenance. Picture from Mainstreet Waynesboro’s February 28 Facebook post.

Do you think there are untold stories in your community? If so, what are they?

Yes, there are stories about underground caves, the Underground Railroad, bustling streets and old toy stores.

Waynesboro’s Main Street, May 2020. Photograph courtesy of Mainstreet Waynesboro.

Would you consider yourself a preservationist?

No, I would consider myself a person who wants to plan for the future, while preserving our past, our charming look and our proud heritage. So many of Waynesboro’s downtown and other older buildings are still up, in use and are being used as part of the local commerce scene.

One of the many thriving businesses in Waynesboro’s historic buildings. Picture from Mainstreet Waynesboro’s April 21, 2021 Facebook post.

Last year we ran a series of blog posts called #FavoritePAPlaces. Can you share with us one of your favorite PA places and why it’s a favorite?

I have a bunch. I loved taking my kids to Sesame Place and growing up going to Hershey Park. Overall, I’d have to say Gettysburg is one of my all-time favorites because of all that happened here during the Civil War and when President Lincoln returned for his address. My father was a history teacher and would take the family around the grounds there and tell us how it all happened. Then we would go get ice cream somewhere. It will always hold a special place for me.

Warners Old-fashioned Soda Shoppe on Main Street in downtown Waynesboro. Picture from June 18, 2020 Facebook post.

Any words of encouragement or inspiration for our blog readers that are interested in preserving Pennsylvania’s older and historic places?

Embrace Your Assets! Love what you have and plan for ways to use them – even if they do need a major makeover. Towns and cities need more tools in their toolboxes to make preservation happen. Don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions. You never know when you will get the right answer, or a new answer that you never expected.

Brick building facade with large openings in front of brick paved plaza.
Waynesboro’s Main Street Park is home to many community events. Image courtesy of Mainstreet Waynesboro.

Waynesboro also won awards from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center in 2020!

Yes, awards with an “s”! The Pennsylvania Downtown Center honored Mainstreet Waynesboro, Inc. with two Townie Awards last year. They received a Chairman’s Award for Youth Involvement and a Safe, Clean and Green award for their One Brick at a Time project. Learn more at https://padowntown.org/article/2020-townie-award-winners.

Do you have a Preservation Success Story to share with us?

This year, we’re celebrating National Historic Preservation Month by asking our readers to share with us a Preservation Success Stories in their communities using PA-SHARE (Pennsylvania’s State Historic and Archaeological Resource Exchange), which is PA SHPO’s new online data management and cultural resources GIS tool. And you might just win something!

Three entries submitted between May 1 and May 31 will be chosen at random for three-month Pro subscription to PA-SHARE.  We’ll announce the winners in a blog post on June 4th. We’re going to do our best to make sure that the chosen subscription winners represent a diversity of applicants and projects.

All entries will also be automatically entered to win a 2021 PA SHPO Community Initiative Award. The Community Initiative Award from the State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) recognizes organizations, municipalities, agencies, individuals, and others whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere.  PA SHPO selects three to four winners from a pool of candidates, typically each fall.

To learn more about sharing a Success Story, check out this post.

Author: Shelby Weaver Splain

Shelby Weaver Splain is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Shelby is a native of Bucks County and holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.